A movie about a lost treasure wouldn’t be complete without some impressive stunt work. Action stars have been doing their own stunts for decades, working alongside their doubles and choreographers to pull off some of the most incredible physical feats in film history. Joining the ranks of such actors, a long line that includes names like Harrison Ford and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is 18-year-old Peruvian-American actress Isabela Moner, who leads the cast of Dora and the Lost City of Gold.
In the latest trailer, it’s explicitly clear that Dora fearlessly takes on physical challenges. For example, in one scene, she bounds off a ledge via movie magic (that’s special effects and wires, for the unacquainted) toward a glowing golden goal, before falling when she comes up a little short. Gone are the semi-tame adventures of Dora’s source material, replaced by fun, intense action sequences that are sure to delight almost anyone who grew up with the series — along with their kids.
While most of the hard work you’ll see on screen should be credited to the amazing stunt team, several of the stunts were performed by the actors themselves. Moner, who has most recently starred in high-octane action films like Transformers: The Last Night and Sicario: Day of the Soldado, was eager to work with the crew in order to pull off some of the movie’s most exciting stunts.
“That was part of the appeal,” Moner tells Remezcla. “I feel like it was the most interactive set I have been on.”
Dora’s animated adventures were never this intense, or this fun. Throughout the course of the film’s latest previews, the cast is shown diving underwater, rolling down a mountain, getting expelled from a tunnel via small waterfall, alluding to even more physical challenges that the heroes must survive and escape from.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen so many real special effects on set,” says Eugenio Derbez, who plays X. “When I was reading the script, I thought everything was gonna be CGI. But everything was real. It says ‘the floor opens and you fall down,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, they were going to CGI that.’ No, there was a hole in the floor and a mechanism they built and it opened.”
“That feeling of free-falling is just the most insane adrenaline rush.
For big screen newcomer Jeff Wahlberg, who plays Dora’s city kid cousin, Diego, that drop was memorable.
“This was probably the craziest stunt that I did,” Wahlberg says, as he pulls his phone from his pocket for a quick on-the-spot video recap. “Basically, there’s a trap door and they had me on cords, and I just fall through it.”
From what the phone footage shows, Wahlberg drops pretty sharply, and falls far before a safe landing. Not a small feat for an actor who hasn’t exactly found himself suspended midair on a live set before.
“That feeling of free-falling is just the most insane adrenaline rush,” he adds.
It makes sense for a film shot primarily within the jungles of Australia to contain a certain amount of danger on set; although, most of the Temple scenes were shot on a massive soundstage, allowing the crew to rig up classic-style Hollywood stunts that put the cast and their doubles right in the middle of the action.
“There’s a scene where they drown out the set with huge tanks of water,” Wahlberg says. “It was enormous. It was really scary and exciting, and everything was very real.”
One other standout moment where the cast alludes to performing their own stunts involves a gigantic, turning log that the cast is trapped inside, as it rolls down a hill. “Oh, we threw up. It was really hard,” Derbez says. “And really fast.”
“That shoot felt like it lasted way longer than it actually did.”
“I was on set that day to watch, and I thought it was going to be some kind of effect,” says Eva Longoria, who portrays Dora’s mother, Elena. “But no, they actually had this turning machine rigged up that they were inside of. It was crazy.”
“We were actually hitting the tops and sides of it,” Moner adds. “That shoot felt like it lasted way longer than it actually did.”
Supporting most of the action in the movie, of course, are the cast’s stunt doubles. Carly Rees (whose work has been featured in films such as Aquaman and Thor: Ragnarok) kicks butt as Moner’s double, along with Rees’ former stunt co-stars, Gareth Hadfield and Ri-Jie Kwok.
“One of the stunt doubles totally threw up behind the log after that one scene,” Derbez notes.
“But we don’t call each other out,” Moner says. “So to this day, nobody really knows who it was. I think we all admitted to doing it.”
Dora and the Lost City of Gold hits theaters on August 9.